Basic components of Retail Management Systems
Typically, a retail business incorporates multiple business operations - manufacturing, distribution, inventory, procurement, replenishment, merchandising, Point of Sales, finances, customer management, employee management, and much more. It is quite a task to monitor such a wide range of operations precisely and efficiently. Using separate systems for each or some of these functions would act as a hindrance in consistent and accurate data synchronization and overall smooth management of the business. Thus, it becomes essential for retailers to implement an end-to-end retail management system that takes care of all these functions all at one platform.
Here, I would like to share three basic components of a retail management system and some unique features to look for before choosing a retail management software system in the retail outlets.
1. Inventory management
An inventory holds the entire stock of marketable goods of a retail outlet. The basic functionalities that an inventory management solution must provide with are stocking a wide range of products, tracking stock movement, displaying stock numbers, notifying users in case a product is running out of stock, and the like.
Additionally, if the inventory management solution allows users to import information about the newly arrived stock in bulk, employees would be able to able to save a lot of time which would otherwise be spent on adding stock details individually. Furthermore, the option to scan barcodes would reduce time spent on updating the stock even more and add another layer of security against store-theft.
The inventory management solution should also be able to map separate variants of the same product. For instance, if a shirt is sold in six different colours in the retail outlet, the solution should count it as a single product with six variants, as opposed to counting it as six different products.
Another provision that would benefit retail chains is the stock transfer feature. With the current scenario wherein a retail brand has multiple outlets all across the country or even the world, transferring stock from one outlet to another should be a seamless process.
2. Point of Sales
The Point of Sales unit in a retail format is used to initiate, manage, and complete purchase transactions. It, consequently, becomes one of the most crucial parts of the retail management system. It should exhibit the basic characteristics of accuracy, robustness, efficiency, real-time data updation of the inventory management and finance systems, and easy integration with customer loyalty programs, among numerous others.
Apart from these, there are a few additional features that the POS should include. One of them is quick and easy product lookup. While generating an invoice, it should be easy for employees to quickly add product details, possibly with one key/touch. This would ensure quicker billing process and shorter queues at the checkout counters.
Another good-to-have feature is the POS’ ability to accept payments from varying payment methods other than the traditional cash or credit cards. It should have the flexibility of accepting payments in the form of redeemable points, mobile wallets, and even a combination of these payment methods.
Today’s customers prefer customer-friendly retail outlets, that allow them to even return or receive a refund for a purchased article. POS systems should have this feature enabled in order to enhance the customer experience.
Besides these features, a POS solution should permit the retailer to add multiple users and enable system access for these users. This ensures that multiple employees are able to operate at the POS counter and raise invoices for the completed transactions.
Additionally, having a mobile POS unit, like Ginesys’ Zwing, in the retail outlets speeds up the entire checkout process for customers and lets employees personalize the shopping experience for customers, thus enhancing their experience and increasing retention rates.
3. Customer management
Customer is the king, and it stands the truest in the retail industry. It, therefore, becomes inevitable for retailers to be extremely attentive towards the customer management aspect of the business. An ideal retail management system should, thus, be easily integrated with a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, in order to store all vital customer details. With details such as birthdays, anniversaries, and the like, would allow employees to personalize the customer experience and even provide some special offers on these special occasions.
Additionally, a customer’s purchase history should also be easily retrievable and readily visible. With this bit of information, employees would be able to enhance the shopping experience further by making suggestions of similar products or educating the customer about upcoming offers for this range of products.
Similarly, customer loyalty program benefits should be easily visible to users as soon as a sale is rung up. Users should be able to view the points that are redeemable by the customer, the offers availed previously, and the upcoming personalized offers. Educating customers about this information would not only help the employees accelerate sales but also increase the chances of customers spreading positive word-of-mouth.
By using an end-to-end retail management system like Ginesys, that offers all the above-mentioned features, most of the leading retail organizations have benefited immensely and scaled up their business rapidly.